The sixth business meeting of the revitalized Roche Vitamins Community Advisory Panel convened at 7:00 p.m. on June 19, 2001. The meeting was preceded by a tour of RVIís losalocid facility, which was attended by Doug Smyth, Totsy Phillips, Dave Pritchard and Steve Ross. Ten members of the CAP were present at the business meeting: Chairman Doug Smyth, Jane Bullis, Judy Chamberlain, Peter Grogan, Andrew Mark, Gary Meddaugh, Betty Merring, Totsy Phillips, Dave Pritchard, and Gary Wassel. Present from Roche Vitamins was Duane Campbell. The meeting was facilitated by Steve Ross of Holt & Ross, Inc.

Approval of May Meeting Summary

The May meeting summary was approved with minor editorial corrections, and is now available for public review and distribution.

RVI Compliance Status Report

Duane Campbell reported that RVI will be installing a $1-million methanol scrubber to remove 30 tons of methanol per year. When combined with the significant methanol emissions reductions already achieved through the facilityís pollution prevention program, this will leave Rocheís methanol emissions at an annual level of about 15 tons, compared with the 300 tons per year that was being emitted in violation of the facilityís air permit. Toluene emissions have been reduced to 12 tons per year, which is well within the 17 tons per year allowed by RVIís permit. The chloroform decanter is undergoing a troubleshooting period following its installation and has reduced chloroform emissions to less than 3 tons per year, for which Roche expects to receive a DEP permit.

Mike Adams has met with the managers of several other industrial facilities in Pennsylvania and Warren County to discuss their interest in participating in Rocheís CAP or possibly an airshed-wide CAP. Pennsylvania Power & Light has said they would come to a CAP meeting if invited. The CAP agreed this would be very useful once the issues related to Rocheís Administrative Consent Order are resolved. An invitation will be sent to PPL, most likely this fall.

Status of Independent Peer Review of Health Risk Assessment

Peter Grogan reported that as soon as a check is sent to the peer review team selected by the CAP, work will begin on the critique of the health risk assessment performed by Environmental Resources Management. A report is expected from the peer reviewers in four to six weeks, in time for the CAPís August meeting.

Status of Community Health Surveys

The CAP reviewed the status of the Belvidere and White Township health surveys, noting that the results and their implications should be presented to and discussed with the community. Duane Campbell will provide the CAP with the final draft of the White Twp. survey questionnaire and will have RVI site manager Mike Adams report to the CAP on the status of Rocheís discussions with Mayor Menegus of White Township regarding RVI funding for the survey. The CAP reiterated the importance of conducting health surveys in an unbiased, scientifically responsible manner and agreed that the White survey would be especially valuable if it was compatible with the survey conducted by the Belvidere Environmental Commission. Doug Smyth noted that flaws had been identified in the Belvidere survey, mainly in the form of too much complexity. This offers an opportunity for the White survey to correct those flaws.

The CAP agreed that the Chairman should ask the CAPís air toxics expert, Dr. Clifford Weisel, to contact the coordinators of the White survey to discuss the questionnaire and the cover letter that will accompany it and advise on how to make them as useful as possible. The CAP also asked Chairman Smyth to contact Mayor Menegus following that call to discuss the CAPís interest in supporting Whiteís efforts to conduct a survey that would deliver maximum value to the community represented by both towns.

Supplemental Environmental Projects

The CAP continued the discussion that began at its May meeting regarding SEPs that Roche should include in its negotiations with the NJDEP. The CAP identified and recommended four conceptual projects that it requested Roche submit to the NJDEP:

  1. Warren County air monitoring station.
  2. Community notification system, to alert residents when air quality reaches unhealthy levels.
  3. Toxicity testing of the mixture of ambient air contaminants, including those emitted by Roche and nearby power plants, notably mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and ozone, as well as the air toxics chloroform, toluene and methanol. Such a research project could be conducted by Rutgers University.
  4. An asthma screening study of schools in Belvidere and White Township, along the lines of the asthma studies now being developed by the NJ Pediatric Asthma Coalition.

Duane Campbell said Roche will frame out SEP implementation approaches and budgets based on the CAPís advice. Gary Wassel cautioned that while the Warren County Office of Emergency Management supported the concept of a community alert network, his office did not have the budget or manpower to fund or operate such a system.

Community Outreach

The CAP agreed that it was important to provide a forum for community discussion of the issues under review by the CAP, notably:

  • Community health surveys
  • The independent scientific peer review of the health risk assessment of the impact of Rocheís unpermitted emissions
  • The Administrative Consent Order issued by the NJDEP with Rocheís agreement
  • Rocheís current environmental performance
  • The supplemental environmental projects that are part of the ACO.

Such a forum should be scheduled following issuance of the ACO, which is expected to occur in September. Therefore, the CAP agreed to target October 6 as the tentative date for such a community forum, which the CAP would sponsor and host, and in which Roche, the NJDEP, the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services, the Belvidere Environmental Commission, White Township, the CAPís health risk assessment peer reviewers, and its community health and air toxic expert would be invited to participate and make presentations.

In addition to the community forum, the CAP expressed interest in launching a website as a public outreach and information vehicle. Duane Campbell said he would make arrangements for a presentation at the July meeting of the website that Roche has designed for the CAPís use for that purpose.

The CAP agreed that its next meeting should be held on July 24, 2001.

The meeting concluded at 9:10 p.m.

Action items for the future were as follows:

  • Mike Adams to report to the CAP chairman on the status of the White Twp. health survey and provide the latest draft of the survey.
  • Doug Smyth to call Dr. Weisel and Mayor Menegus regarding the White Twp. health survey.
  • Roche to develop SEP projects and budgets based on the CAPís recommendations.
  • CAP to plan community forum for October 6.
  • Roche to present CAP website at July 24 meeting.